Get off your beach bum: 5 productive things to do this summer

Beach bums


Beach bums

Suns out, buns out darlings. This past weekend officially ushered in the start of summer (at least for most of us northerners, whose June felt more like October). Beach days, beer gardens, street festivals, and any activity that warrants a floral romper or crop top, pretty much occupy my calendar for the next eight weeks.

My general philosophy on summer would be to tell you to relax your hot #GirlBoss body, put away the spreadsheets, and focus on your tan lines. But let’s be honest, I can’t write off the next couple months as a complete wash. After all, if everyone else is resting, what better time to get ahead right?

So as much as I hate being “that girl” and writing about work and careers when all the other bloggers are talking about the perfect summer cocktails (Moscow Mule) and beach beauty essentials (but like…are we wearing makeup at the beach?), productivity feeds my soul. And with all this extra time on our hands just begging to be taken advantage of, I couldn’t help but think of productive things to sneak in between bikini changes.

Here are my five productive things to do this summer: (added bonus: a few of them can be done in beachwear.)

1. Read a book by a fellow #LadyBoss 

Leave Your Mark Book//My summer reading material: Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht//

If your spending the day with your toes in the sand, what better opportunity to stick that SPF drenched nose in a book. I’m the type of person who can read an entire book in one beach session. For those of you who are similar, consider putting down the Cosmo and picking up one of the many books out right now written by fellow bad ass women. Top of my summer reading listis “Leave Your Mark” by Aliza Licht.  Aliza is the brains and beauty behind @DKNY PR GIRL and the ultimate expert in branding and social media. So basically she’s my career muse, that is, when Chelsea Handler goes a little crazy on instagram.

Past inspiring summer reads have included “The Defining Decade” by Dr. Meg Jay and “Knowing Your Value” by Mike Brzezinski (I write a little bit about Mika’s book in this post!). Both of which in my opinion, are absolutely essential books for the 20-something career girl. For more inspiration, the Career Girl Daily has also put together a great reading list.

2. Get a head start on your passion project

A few weeks ago I wrote about what it takes to start a passion project or side-hustle business. I received a ton of feedback from readers about how interested they were in that subject and how they’ve considered starting something on the side. What I’ll say is this, the most common excuses for not starting a passion project are “not knowing how to start” and “not having enough time.” Well, I solved the first one in my blog post, and I’m about to solve the second: Take time this summer to put your passion project to work. You’d be surprised what a few extra hours a week can do. Even the smallest projects or side-hustles take time to build, so get the hard stuff out of the way this summer so you have a well-oiled machine by the time your full-time gig gets busier in the Fall.

3. Take a class

Last summer a friend of mine told me over lunch that she was feeling creatively drained at her company, and the seasonal slowness was not helping matters. To switch things up, she decided to take Spanish lessons at a local learning center. I immediately thought to myself, “Damn, that’s a really good idea. Imagine ending summer knowing a new language?” Spanish wasn’t directly related to what she did for work, but that didn’t matter. Developing a new skill or perfecting a current one by taking a summer class will not only reinvigorate you personally, but help you grow professionally.


4. Revamp your online presence 

Productive things to do this summer

//Photo Taken By Christina Slaton// 

You know I can’t make a productivity list without addressing my favorite thing: personal branding.

So maybe when work is crazy and overwhelming, I understand that tweeting is luxury, and editing LinkedIn profiles is at the bottom of your to-do list. But let me tell you a little secret: Statistically more jobs are hired for between the months of July and October than any other time of the year. Meaning, recruiters are scouring the internet for viable candidates. So while it may be slow season at your company, there is literally no better time to ramp up your personal self-promotion online. Take this down time to focus on building your social clout or finally creating your portfolio website. That $12.99 domain name won’t design itself.

5. Attend a workshop or networking event

Similar to my point above, summer is great time to take advantage of new learning experiences and attend events you otherwise wouldn’t have time for. A few summers ago I was first introduced to my networking group, MsTech. I started attending their Mastermind lunches because my summer office hours allowed me to take longer lunches. Little did I know that summer of networking would set the stage for an entirely new set of opportunities since. The connections I’ve made through that group have helped influence and shape my career into what it is today. And to think, I just thought it would be something cool to do because I was bored at work.

For those of you in Chicago, may I also suggest looking at Learnapalooza for some incredible FREE workshops this summer. I taught a class on blogging last year and was really impressed with the event offerings and fellow teachers.


So beach bums, are your ready to work??